Tea agency to pump Sh4.8bn in power plants
The Kenya Tea Development Agency plans to construct four hydropower plants at a cost of Sh4.8 billion to meet electricity demand at some of its factories.
The plants will cumulatively generate 10.9 megawatts of electricity that will power some of its tea factories while the excess will be sold to the government.
Speaking during a groundbreaking event at North Mathioya, Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) chief executive officer Lerionka Tiampati said the company was keen on ensuring that its factories in tea-growing regions have access to alternative energy to help cut operation costs.
“Energy costs account for about 30 per cent of the operation costs in tea factories with electricity alone accounting for 17 per cent. With the new hydro plants, the factory is set to cut operation costs and additionally earn money from selling excess power,” Mr Tiampati said in a statement.
The four hydropower projects will be located in lower Nyamindi (Kirinyaga County), north Mathioya (Muranga County) and in Iraru and South Mara both in Meru County.
In 2012, the tea management agency announced plans to build 10 small hydropower plants with a cumulative capacity of 20 megawatts by 2015 but the projects have fallen behind schedule.
Only two hydropower plants, in Imenti (Meru) and Gura (Nyeri), have been completed.
According to KTDA, on average, each tea factory spends between Sh30 million and Sh65 million per year on electricity.
“The hydropower project, once constructed is hoped to generate more energy than a factory’s requirement and the excess will then be sold to the national grid, thus providing additional income to farmers,” said KTDA power chairman Joseph Wakimani, said.